The web page from HUCK's world premiere
Two more performances - Friday, January 26 @10PM & Saturday, January 27 @7PM
Part of the Twainathon at the Metropolitan Playhouse
220 East Fourth Street ~ New York, NY 10009. This Equity Showcase production is the world premiere of a new play by N.G. McClernan
based on Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Huckleberry Finn grew up semi-homeless and neglected by Pap, his alcoholic, abusive father, on
the lowest rung of the Missouri socio-economic ladder (except for slaves.)
When Huck and Tom Sawyer find gold in a cave, Huck is dragged into respectability,
through the efforts of the townsfolk of St. Petersburg, especially Judge Thatcher, the
Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson. Pap Finn shows up to collect Huck's money, and
when he can't get it, hides Huck in a cabin in the woods.
Huck runs away, determined to strike out on his own and
heads over to Jackson's Island where he finds Jim hiding out, on the run after learning that
Miss Watson planned to sell him down the river.
Jim and Huck find a raft and ride it down the Mississippi -
Jim is looking to get free so he can buy his family, and Huck has to decide whether to
be respectable and put Jim back into slavery, or risk being called a low-down Abolitionist,
and sent into the firey pit forever.
NICK FONDULIS (Huck Finn)
was born on Long Island and is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Acting.
Recently he played Lance Corporal Wilson in a commercial for the US government with Filmhouse, Inc.
and originated the role of Demetrius in the world premiere of Alcibiades the Athenian.
Credits include the role of Lance in The Match, as part of The Hamlet Plays with the Milk Can Theatre
Company. He also performs in Arithmetickles.
LORENZO SCOTT(Jim, voice of Elijah, voice of real Uncle Harvey)
Lorenzo started his acting career doing television commercials and can be seen in various ads
from Cablevision to American Express. People are familiar with his voice from doing the station
identification voice-over for PBS Channel 13. He can be seen in the upcoming feature film
"100 Years of Evil", which will be released this year. Member AEA.
CHARLES MAJOR (The King/Jackson) Charles Major (actor) - A professional actor for over 30 years, Charles appeared on Broadway in "Sly Fox" with Robert Preston and "Spofford" with Melvyn Douglas; toured in "Little Me" with Donald O'Connor and Eve Arden; "The Tender Trap" with Tab Hunter, and made a successful cabaret career out of is love for MGM musicals. A member of AEA
he has done over 100 productions all over the country.
GREG OLIVER BODINE (The Duke/Joe/Buck) has worked in numerous regional and stock theatres. New York theatre credits: EST, Lincoln Center Directors' Lab, American Globe Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Source, Center Stage and Theater Ten Ten. Television: Guiding Light, As The World Turns and Saturday Night Live. Training: M.F.A. Acting Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Many thanks to Nancy for the opportunity to work with the talented cast & crew. www.gregoliverbodine.com. Member AEA.
ALICE CONNORTON (Judith Loftus/Hattie Lothrop) is delighted to be working with N.G.McClernan again, having been part of the original casts of MONKEY'S PAW 2000 and TAM LIN. She appeared on Broadway in the National Actor's Theatre revival of INHERIT THE WIND and on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as Etalina in PLAYING FOR TIME. You can see her on DVD as "Mom" in METROPOLITAN and occasionally on TNT in LAW AND ORDER. Member of AEA.
MICHAEL JALBERT (Jack Turner/Doc Robinson/Bob/Mr. Williams/Mr. Parker) a native of Massachusetts, has performed in and around New York for many years. This summer he appeared in Tanya Klein's "Perfect" at the NY Fringe Festival. Mike is member of AEA and SAG.
HANNAH SNYDER-BECK (Miss Watson/Mary Jane Wilks/Roxana/Thaddeus) Sarah Lawrence College graduate (Ď05). Made appearances at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, BAM and Symphony Space and has had the honor of working with Paul Simon and Taj Mahal. Skin Around The Earth, 2002 Fringe Festival/Red Room (Woundbird). More recent NY credits include:
A Streetcar Named Desire (Excerpt), NY Goldmine Theatre Co./Kraine Theater (Blanche); Official Lunch, The Gallery Players, (Cynthia, a wily NSA agent) and Sam Shepard's Seduced, Michael Chekhov Theatre Co.
N.G. McClernan (Author/Director)
McClernan would like to thank these amazing people listed here for the privilege of working with them.
She was recently the defendant in a case wherein a director registered an unauthorized derivative
copyright on her play, TAM LIN and used it as the basis of a lawsuit against her. McClernan admits to a
sneaking admiration for such shamelessness - The King and The Duke couldn't do better. Proud member of the Dramatists Guild, and founder of a writers group NYCPlaywrights. Blog:
Reagan Wilson (Assistant Director)
Reagan Wilson has worked on numerous productions in theatre, film, and tv. She is the executive producer of Ciona Taylor Productions located in New York City. To learn more visit www.luvrae.com and www.cionataylor.com
Emily M. Arnold (Stage Manager) Emily is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and is pleased to be making her NYC stage management debut with Huck Finn. She has previously worked at regional theatres in Rochester, NY and in Massachusetts. She would like to thank her wonderful husband for his unfailing love and support.
William Pickens (Sound Designer) is proud to be working with Mergatroyd for the first time. He has been fortunate to design multiple shows at Geva Theatre Center including A Marvelous Party, Key West, and That was Then. Recently he has assisted such designers as Tony Smolenski (Emergence-See - The Public), Fabian Obispo (Durango- The Public and A Very Common Procedure- MCC), and Guy Sherman (Dying City- Lincoln Center Theatre). He would like to thank his beautiful wife, Emily.
Danielle Johnson (Costume Mistress)
Naomi McClernan (Production Assistant)
Mergatroyd Productions is responsible for set & costumes, with special assistance from Mr. Greg Oliver Bodine, who conceived of and created the wigwam, created the shackles, and much more. Thanks Greg.
A Justification for Liberties Taken or,
What About Lil Lizabeth?
I've been reimagining Twain's Tom/Huck stories since I was a little kid and my friend Laura and I wrote our own version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, inserting two new characters - a sister for Tom, modeled on Laura and a sister for Huck, modeled on me. Both girl characters hated Becky Thatcher with a passion, since she represented everything Laura and I hated about how a good girl was supposed to behave. It's interesting that Twain created the good girl character we despised in the same book as Tom Sawyer, whom Twain saw as an antidote to the idealized good boy character that he despised.
Tom Sawyer was certainly not a good boy. In fact, he was a big jerk. Hereís standard Tom Sawyer for you - he allows Aunt Polly to grieve for him for days - even spying on her in her grief, before he reveals he is alive.
That's an incident in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," and that's bad enough. Whatís far worse is that the pernicious Tom invades Huck Finnís story and very nearly ruins "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Ernest Hemingway's remarks are often quoted in articles and commentary about the book:
"All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn."
The next three sentences are quoted much less frequently:
"If you read it you must stop where the Nigger Jim (sic) is stolen from the boys (sic.) That is the real end. The rest is just cheating."
I agree with Hemingway - although you have to wonder how well Hemingway remembered the book, since Jim is "stolen" from Huck alone, not boys, plural. The rest of the book which Hemingway refers to is commonly known as the Evasion section, and marks the re-appearance of Tom Sawyer. Tom neglects to tell Huck and Jim that Miss Watson has freed Jim in her will, and uses Jim's imprisonment (while Uncle Silas tries to contact his owner) as an opportunity to play a weeks-long game of pretending to free Jim, and almost succeeds in getting Jim lynched - he does succeed in getting Jim abused by the local townsfolk. That lovable scamp.
The character of Tom Sawyer is a black hole into which the characters of Huck and especially Jim disappear. Although Huck continues to narrate the book after Tom shows up, he basically does what Tom tells him to, only once in awhile making a wry comment about Tom's adorable idiotic hijinks. And Jim - Jim forgets who he is and why he ran away in the first place. He forgets entirely about his family.
The last paragraph of Huckleberry Finn is beloved and much-quoted:
But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.
But who exactly are "the rest" that Huck is going to light out ahead of? Tom Sawyer and Jim. When Huck talks about lighting out for the Territory, he's referring to a few paragraphs before:
"And then Tom he talked along and talked along, and says, le's all three slide out of here one of these nights and get an outfit, and go for howling adventures amongst the Injuns, over in the Territory, for a couple of weeks or two;"
Here's what Jim was like back on the raft as described by Huck in chapter 16:
"He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn't sell them, they'd get an Ab'litionist to go and steal them."
So thanks to the influence of Tom Sawyer, Jim is transformed from a man with a life-or- death mission to rescue his family, to the equal of two adolescents planning to spend a fortnight playing cowboys and Indians.
And that's why it was necessary to remove Tom Sawyer from my version of Huck Finn - so Lil Lizabeth can get her father back.
That's not entirely true - Tom Sawyer's name does crop up from time to time in the play, as a symbol of the "good" people, the ones who don't actively try to lynch black people, but who, through callousness and selfishness are able to live comfortably and conscience-free in a slave-holding society.
(Complaints about the sullying of Tom Sawyer and by extension all-American boyhood may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The HUCK FINN blog
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - read the entire novel here
Twain liked to perform "The Evasion" section of the novel on tour.
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (where the character Roxana comes from)
Satire or Evasion? Black Perspectives on Huckleberry Finn
at Amazon. Excellent collection of essays on the various critcisms and defenses of race and the Evasion section of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
Twain scholar Shelly Fisher Fishkin claims the Evasion is a satire of Reconstruction (although she doesn't explain what periods of American history Tom Sawyer's other fantasies and pranks satirize.)
HUCK FINN photos
HUCK FINN production photos